Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Pollinate Energy, a social enterprise that’s lighting up lives in the slums of India. Learn how they’re reducing indoor air pollution from kerosene and wood stoves, and bringing solar light to Kolkata’s tent slums. Chat with the people behind the project, meet locals living in these communities, and come away with a better understanding of social enterprise in India.
Kolkata is India's second largest and most populous megacity, widely regarded as the country’s intellectual and cultural capital. It’s also a place to experience the human strength to survive — Kolkata (Calcutta) conjures up images of human suffering to many Westerners. Most of the urban poor are unable to access their basic needs, such as electricity, water, and shelter in the slums.
Venture off the beaten track and experience first-hand the life of these Kolkata city slums with Pollinate Energy, a social enterprise that’s bringing light to India’s urban poor. Indoor air pollution from kerosene and wood stoves is the second-highest cause of death by disease in India. Pollinate Energy finds local people who are passionate about helping the families living in tent slums, and trains them to run a micro-business. They go from tent to tent, talking to families, introducing them to solar lighting and phone chargers, and helping them buy a solar light on an affordable payment plan to replace their kerosene lamps.
To start your journey, you’ll visit the Pollinate Energy office in Kolkata, a place bustling with activity as “Pollinators” pop in to pick up new stock, and while our team manages a growing network of hives across all of India. You will hear first-hand Pollinate Energy’s start-up story, learn how far the organisation has come, and where it’s going.
You will be taken on an auto-rickshaw journey through Kolkata’s busy city streets. Under the close guidance of our Pollinators, you will enter a tent community and be welcomed into the home of one of our customers. You will experience life in a community as children play wildly and parents make their way home from work. Until recently, these communities relied on kerosene lamps to light up their homes after sundown. Now, thanks to the work of your Pollinator, they have clean and affordable solar-power lighting in their homes.
You’ll also have the option to walk through a bustling outdoor flower market or to see a beautiful sunset near the ghats of the holy Ganges.
At the end of your tour, you’ll get a chance to witness the magic in action. Sit with a local family, enjoy a cup of chai, and watch the lights turning on as the sun begins to set. At that moment, you’ll understand what it means to light up a life.